The ETIAS: what you need to know

UK citizens travelling to the EU will need to digitally register before they arrive in their destination country from November 2023.
Man holding his luggage and passport in an airport, as he is using an ETIAS to go to Spain

The European Union is to introduce an automated system for registering people from outside the EU. People will need to be registered via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) each time they enter and exit the EU. Here you will find the ETIAS explained.

Who needs the ETIAS?

If you are a non-EU citizen and you do not usually require a visa to travel to an EU country, you will have to apply for pre-travel authorisation. The requirement for the ETIAS will apply to non-EU citizens travelling into Europe, including UK citizens travelling in Spain. 

The ETIAS and British Citizens

All British citizens will be required to apply for an ETIAS to enter most European countries. Its introduction is intended to screen travellers arriving from overseas by way of a response to the global increase in international terrorism.

The ETIAS will work with existing immigration databases to provide screening across Europe. UK citizens will be required to complete an ETIAS application prior to boarding any form of transport to Europe. 

If you would like to stay in Europe for more than 90 days, or would like to do activities different to tourism or a short business trip, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. 

You should complete your ETIAS application 96 hours prior to their departure date, in order to allow for it to be fully processed. Applications will normally be processed and approved within minutes, and the authorisation is sent by email, although there is no need to print this off as the ETIAS is stored electronically against the passport details. 

Expiry and fees

The authorisation granted by the ETIAS will last for three years before it needs to be renewed and will cost €7 for people aged between 18 and 70. However, it will be free for people outside this age range. Applications will be made online and will be checked when you travel.

UK nationals and their family members who have the right to reside in the EU are exempt from needing authorisation from the ETIAS. This would apply if you have legal residency rights in Spain, though people who visit you from the UK would need authorisation from the ETIAS. 

When will the ETIAS be introduced?

The ETIAS was due to be introduced in November 2023, although delays have meant that the EU have postponed its introduction until 2024. The European Commission says that, in most cases, the authorisation will only take a few minutes to be issued.

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Whether you are simply researching your options or ready to apply, we are here to help.

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